Hiber joins forces with Inmarsat to launch an IoT satellite network

Hiber, a Dutch internet-of-things business, has announced a partnership with Inmarsat to supply those services, just days after announcing it was no longer going to operate its satellite network.

Hiber said on October 12 that it will employ Inmarsat to provide satellite connectivity for its Internet of Things (IoT) services, which are primarily targeted at industrial customers. Hiber plans to use such satellite capacity in conjunction with its proprietary protocols to provide low-power, low-data services to its terminals.

Hiber will leverage Inmarsat’s new ELERA network, which was launched in August. ELERA is designed to provide IoT services utilizing its current L-band satellites, which will be supplemented by two Inmarsat-6 satellites set to launch later this year and early next year, which will provide significantly increased capacity.

In a statement, Hiber CEO Roel Jansen stated, “This strategic alliance with Inmarsat establishes the most powerful worldwide network for IoT accessible and allows Hiber focus on rural distant, and industrial IoT solutions, that is where the true life-changing innovation will happen.” He went on to say that the arrangement gives Hiber “instant access to a worldwide market” and “assists us in reducing our time to market.”

Hiber informed the Federal Communications Commission two and a half weeks ago that it was relinquishing its license to operate its constellation of 24 smallsats for IoT services. The corporation stated it was unable to continue with its system due to a mix of technical concerns with the 4 satellites it has launched thus far, as well as financial issues.

Hiber said it had “pivoted its business operations and aims to offer Internet-of-Things services via leased capacity on the third-party satellite network” in a letter to the FCC dated September 24, but did not name the company that provided the network. However, Hiber’s letter referred to another FCC petition in which the company requested permission to manage 500,000 mobile terminals.

In its June 7 filing on the terminals, Hiber stated, “Hiber will utilize the Inmarsat satellite network utilizing dedicated beams leased from Inmarsat.” The application was approved by the FCC on October 5.

Hiber has been tight-lipped about the technical issues with its satellites that led it to relinquish its FCC licenses. Two of these satellites had been decommissioned, according to the business, while the other two had technical faults that would be “cost-prohibitive” to fix. It was unclear which of the 4 satellites had been retired and which were experiencing technical difficulties.

According to one industry source, the company’s first two satellites, which were launched in late 2018, have been decommissioned for unknown reasons. The other two, which were released in March and January of 2020, were not known to have major technical problems.

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